At long last, there is serious discussion about the New York Mets trading first baseman Ike Davis across town to the New York Yankees. This would be a good idea for both teams, as well as the Mets’ beleaguered first baseman himself.
In Ike Davis, the Yankees would get a lefty first baseman with a good glove and a perfect swing for their ballpark. Davis is a fly-ball hitter who tends to pull the ball and get out front on breaking pitches; he’s hit some of the Mets’ longer home runs in recent years, but he’s also had a lot of fly balls die at Citi Field. At Yankee Stadium, his home run totals would blossom, even if he never corrected some of the flaws on his swing. If he does continue to correct his glaring flaws, Davis has the chance to be similar to Carlos Pena in his peak offensive years, only with an above-average glove.
By trading Ike Davis while they can still get good players for him, the Mets would clear up one of the lingering questions that hang over the 2014 season. It would give Lucas Duda a chance to continue to explore his upside while playing his natural position. Either Duda will assert himself as an everyday first baseman or he and Josh Satin can settle into a platoon situation without concerns about a logjam. With first base settled, the Mets can turn their attention to other matters and continue trending upward.
The Yankees have depth in their bullpen, an area where the Mets have struggled. One name being thrown around is 6′-8″ Dellin Betances, a hard-throwing NYC native who’s been highly ranked among Yankees pitching prospects. A fortified bullpen would take pressure off the Mets starting rotation, which is a developing strength but is still somewhat in flux.
As for Ike Davis, he would benefit as much as anyone. He would flourish in a park that plays to his strengths as a hitter. He’d likely start, at least initially. And as the saying goes, sometimes a struggling player needs a change of scenery. Though he’d be staying in New York, Davis would be moving to a new clubhouse with a clean slate, and he’d also be stepping into something of a vacuum. Incumbent Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is currently injured and has been showing signs of an early decline, and the Yankees are using a stopgap platoon that includes career second baseman Kelly Johnson.
The Mets trading Ike Davis to the Yankees would address concerns for both teams. It would also increase the Yankees’ chances of winning their division and the Mets’ chances of making a wild-card run.